Auto Italia, London, 29 July 2010 — 22 August 2010
Breer Lazidj Nahr

RIBBONS! (The Shape of an Exhibition) is a temporary project occupying a park opposite Auto Italia. Lengths of shiny, coloured ribbon are tied from the branches of one tree to another to form long squiggles and zig zagging lines which curve in one direction and then another as they are caught by the breeze. As the first installment of a larger project titled The Shape of an Exhibition, this outdoor installation acts as a sketch of what is to come.

The Shape of an Exhibition has been conceived to address the notion of an exhibition by considering and expanding both its site and its timeframe. A sequence of exhibitions will take place at Auto Italia, in the garage next door and in the park across the street.  Ideas will be developed about the past, present and future use of the site, and concludes with the creation of a permanent playground in the park where the reflective, coloured ribbons now hang. The Shape of an Exhibition could be understood as a remake of a novel, The Shape of a City by Julien Gracq (1985), or a version of the final scene of Jacques Demy’s film, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), both of which function as projections of their authors’ recollected and imagined memories of a city.

As a prologue to The Shape of an Exhibition, RIBBONS! is a product of what it imagines. Like a movie imagining the film projector, or a rabbit imagining the top hat from which it will appear, there is a mirroring back and forth between the product and producer. The long coloured lines of ribbon suspended in the branches of the trees above are a sketch or a draft of the exhibition to come, like lines drawn on a floating page. Many layers of drawings are stacked on top of each other in a book of drawings as large as the park itself. Now a small magic trick: like a magician capable of removing a table cloth in a split second without spilling the glass of water that stands on it, the paper of this book is taken away leaving only the coloured lines.